Road to TDX: Multiuser Workflows with Antoine Cabot

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Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Antoine Cabot, Senior Director of Product Management at Salesforce working on Orchestrator. Join us as we talk about what Antoine and his team have learned since Orchestrator went GA in February and all the cool things they’re looking forward to sharing at TrailblazerDX.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Antoine Cabot.

Looking forward to TrailblazerDX

Orchestrator is a new product, introduced in February, to support multiuser workflows by adding one more layer to the Flow tooling already in place, accommodating more sophisticated business processes for customers.

At TrailblazerDX, they’ll get into the nitty-gritty of what a multiuser workflow is and why you’d want to use them. “Orchestrator is not only a tool our customers can use out-of-the-box and build their own Orchestrations—it’s also a tool that can be used by partners and startups to create products and sell them through AppExchange,” Antoine says. They’ve invited some of these businesses to share what they’re working on so you can see what Orchestrator is capable of.

What is Orchestrator?

Flow is already a powerful tool with a lot of capabilities: screen flows for user interactions, recall trigger flows to update records, and more. There’s a reason we encouraging folks to transition to it and deprecating older ways of doing things.

“Flow is great when you have some kind of recall-centric process,” Antoine says, “but Orchestrator is great for user-centric processes.” You can assign work to the right person at the right time, which is a godsend for multiuser or multi-department processes where you have to support parallel work.

One of the best things is that working is Orchestrator uses all of the skills you’ve already learned for Flow. “If you know how to create a Flow, you will know how to create an Orchestration,” Antoine says.

What’s next?

As far as what’s coming up, there’s a lot to look forward to. Antoine’s team is looking to make some major gains in how they report on tasks completed in Orchestrator. The goal is to build something that lets you analyze processes to figure out how specific steps are going and where you can make improvements.

Antoine has one message for folks listening in: “Please start measuring how much time it takes for a process to go from the beginning to the end.” When you want to prove the ROI for what you’re doing, you need to know how things were going before you put new automations in place. It really makes a difference when you’re talking to leadership, and Orchestrator is going to make a big impact.

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Full show transcript

Gillian Bruce: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast, where we talk about product, community and careers to help you be an awesome admin. I’m your host, Gillian Bruce. And today I am joined by Antoine Cabot, he is a Product Manager working on Orchestrator here at Salesforce and he and his team have some awesome enhancements that they’re really excited to talk about at TrailblazerDX coming up here in just I think, a week away. Oh my goodness. So I wanted to get him on the podcast to talk a little bit about what their team has learned since Orchestrator went GA in February, and about some of the exciting things they’re going to talk about at TrailblazerDX. Including some amazing use cases that customers are doing and building. So without further ado, let’s get Antoine on the podcast. Antoine, welcome to the podcast.

Antoine Cabot: Thank you for having me.

Gillian Bruce: Well, we’re excited to have you, we’re getting ready for a little something coming up in a few weeks. TrailblazerDX, and I know that you are getting excited to share some fun news about the products that you’re working on at TrailblazerDX. Do you want to give us a little overview about what your team works on first?

Antoine Cabot: Yeah, absolutely. So I’m the Product Manager for a product called Orchestrator. That is part of the automation platform at Salesforce. Orchestrator is a new product that we introduced back in February this year. And the idea is to support multi-user workflows. So adding one more layer to the flow tooling that we already have, to support more sophisticated business processes for all our customers.

Gillian Bruce: That’s awesome. So just a little tiny feature that no one wants to use, right?

Antoine Cabot: It’s basically a new category for Salesforce, so that’s a big deal.

Gillian Bruce: It’s a huge deal. And I know admins absolutely love any automation they can use and Orchestrator is a game changer. So let’s talk a little bit about some of the things that you and your team are going to be presenting at TrailblazerDX. Let’s talk about this multiuser workflow. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?

Antoine Cabot: Yeah. So we’ll have one session specifically about multiuser workflows and that session will be very interesting because, we’ll have some partners there. We’ll invite startups to talk about how they use Orchestrator to build apps for their customers. Orchestrator is not only a tool that our customers can use out of the box and build their own orchestrations. It’s also a tool that can be used by partners and startups to create products and sell them through app exchange. And we have this great example coming from Full Solution, which is a company based in the Netherlands, that is building an amazing approval process right on top of Orchestrator. That will give you a great example of how Orchestrator can be used as a platform tool for everything you want to do in Salesforce.

Gillian Bruce: That’s awesome. So, I think that’s like next level of thinking of Orchestrator, right? Because it’s not just building it for your own platform, but the fact that now partners can use it to create solutions that admins might be interested in using.

Antoine Cabot: Exactly.

Gillian Bruce: So can you tell us a little bit more about what makes this exciting, especially for admins? Aside from the fact that, hey, now their partners can build solutions that admins can use. Can we talk a little bit more about the differentiator between this and maybe some of our other process automation options?

Antoine Cabot: Absolutely. So, if you think about Flow, I’m assuming that some of you on this call are familiar with Flow. Flow is a great technology, you can do a lot of things like screen flows if you need user interactions, recall triggered flows if you want to update things in your Salesforce records. It’s a great tech. We have been pushing for it for 10 years, we are also kind of deprecating all the technology like process builders and workflow rules. So now we are moving on to flow, we want all our customers to use flow as much as possible. Flow is great when you have some kind of record centric process, you want to do something on a specific record, make sure that the data is accurate, validate the data, update a discount percentage or things like that. This is great for that.

Orchestrator on the other side is great for user centric process. You really want to assign the right work to the right person at the right time. That’s exactly what Orchestrator is great at. When you imagine a process like a simple case management process, that’s usually the simplest example I can go with. This case will be created by a customer and then will go through a queue and then would be assigned to an agent. This agent will eventually escalate that will go to his manager. And then eventually the case will go to a different… out of the organization. Like a different department, different business unit. That’s exactly where Orchestrator is targeted for, that’s when we can say, “Okay, the agent will complete the first step, but then the next step will be done by the manager.”

And the next step will be done by someone that is in a very different part of the organization. And Orchestrator to combine all this step together, making sure that this process is executed without any problem and in timeless manner, so that you don’t lose time between end offs. That’s where Orchestrator is great at. So think about a process that involve multiple user or multiple departments, might be some parallel works that you have to support, things like that’s where. That’s where Orchestrator is just providing a lot more value than what flow already provides.

Gillian Bruce: So I think that’s really interesting because I think in the past, an admin would have to set up a separate flow for each of those steps. Which would, as you said, take more time and also require a lot more work. And there just opportunities for things to fall through the gaps. Your use case is perfect, that really helps I think understand how this plays in. How different is it to use Orchestrator and think about these multi-user workflows than creating a typical flow, is it something that is much more complex or is it something that, if you’ve created a couple flows, you can also do this?

Antoine Cabot: Yeah. So, that’s one of the great thing about Orchestrator, is that we are reusing all the skills that you already have with Flow. If you know how to create a flow, you will know how to create an orchestration. It’s the same builder, same components, while just adding two additional elements called stages and steps, but it doesn’t really… I mean, it’s not complicated. And for example, if you are concerned about the scale of Orchestrator for example, Orchestrator is based on flow. So it’s based on our flow engine and it scales very well. Like we’re running billions of flow every month, you will be able to run billions of orchestration also on the platform. So in terms of skill set, many of our customers actually say, “Hey, are you compatible with BPM? And I ingest some BPM diagram into Orchestrator?” That will come probably one day, it’s actually on my roadmap, but-

Gillian Bruce: Safe harbor.

Antoine Cabot: … today. Yeah, safe harbor. But today it’s really, we are betting on the skills that our Salesforce Admins already have. They know how to create flows, many of them know how to create flows. They will know how to create an orchestration without knowing anything about BPM. And that’s really our bet on the market today.

Gillian Bruce: That is great. Because I mean, I think that’s one of the beautiful things about the Salesforce platform, right? And especially, hey, awesome admins. This is the unique thing, is we can build these very complex processes without having to use code or have to know all of these other systems necessarily that maybe someone who’s been working as a system admin on other platforms, would have that skillset. With Salesforce, you can do it all in Salesforce, you don’t have to work with all these other things. But if you do understand these other systems and these other processes, it’s easily translatable and you can use that as well. I think that’s huge. That’s what makes Salesforce so special.

Antoine Cabot: Absolutely. And you mentioned one thing Gillian, about connecting flows together. It’s definitely doable, everything you can do in Orchestrator, you can potentially do it with flows. That you would have to write a bunch of apex codes to manage the assignment, manage the connection between two flows et cetera, et cetera. So there is nothing that we are really inventing there, but what we are really bringing to the customer is the ability to do that in a low code manner. You don’t have to write any single line of apex code to run an orchestration. You just drag and drop your different flows, you say this flow will run first, this flow will run second. This is the condition between those two. You want to get the output variables from one flow and ingest them into the second step. That’s doable. All of that without writing again, a single line of code.

Gillian Bruce: Hooray for awesome admins everywhere. This is awesome. So Antoine, one of the things that we’d love to talk about on the podcast and especially with admins is, some of the cool use cases and stories and maybe some interesting things that you and the product team have seen admin or customers in general do. Now I know you talked about the partner story that you’re going to share at TrailblazerDX, which is super exciting. Have you had any other fun, little pieces of feedback or examples that you’ve seen people use Orchestrator for so far in the community?

Antoine Cabot: Yes, absolutely. And I would talk about one customer specifically called [Agrar Solar 00:21:42] , which is a German company. They will actually be at TDX also, giving some feedback about the product. I think this would be during the main keynote, which is great. So Agrar Solar, it’s a so panel company. They install solar panels in Germany and they have this very nice process that is happening when and a customer wants to install solar panels on their roof, they talk to them and then they created an opportunity. And when this opportunity is created, they have to go through a bunch of steps internally to verify that the house is suitable for installing the solar panels. And it goes to many technicians internally. And then on point in this process, they also need to gather information from the customer like photos, more information about how the house has been built, what’s the roof looks like and everything.

So they had this very specific need of saying, “Okay, it’s great to have Orchestrator because I can connect all the internal steps. But what I want now, is be able to ask my customer to also be part of this process so they can upload photos and provide more information. And then when it’s done, go back to my internal process and move on with the next steps in the process.” This is something I haven’t thought about when we were shipping the product GA back in February, but this is really something that was really cool. And we said, “Oh, now we can enable this with Experience Cloud.” We have Experience Cloud websites running on top of Salesforce. Nothing actually prevents us to say, “Hey, let’s put this survey on a website and ask the customer to go on that survey link and complete the survey.”

So, that’s what we are building now. We are making sure that you can create an orchestration that is running both internally and externally. That’s where you see that all this Customer 360 experience come into play, where you can have your entire process from beginning to the end, including internal people and also your customers, all your partners.

Gillian Bruce: Ugh. That’s so great. I’m just envisioning the hurrah moment when you realize, “Oh, I can build this entire process in Salesforce.” And I mean, I’m thinking about all of the steps that we’re just saved, right? Having somebody reach out to the customer for every single request and shepherding all of the internal processes along, and then someone having to bring all of those together. I mean the hours saved, days, weeks probably saved by that process. Awesome.

Antoine Cabot: The ROI is huge, it’s huge for… When you think about a company like Agrar Solar, so which is like 200 employees, it’s already significant. So think about like AT&T or a very large company out there, it’s millions of dollars that they can save in just connecting the dots in their process and making sure that we always present the right work, to the right person, at the right time.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Well and you know who builds those things to save all the money it’s admins, right? So admins, this is a huge ROI. Talk about a bullet point to put in your performance review every year, right? Like, “Look what I did, I saved the company this much money.” That is huge. So Antoine, tell us a little bit more. You mentioned there were… you already did a little sneak peek on some stuff that might be coming on the roadmap. What other roadmap things might you be willing to share with me today? Again, forward-looking statement for everyone who’s listening.

Antoine Cabot: So there is definitely Experience Cloud, which is a big thing. The other big that we will be working on in our next cycle, which would be like for the summer of ’23 release is reporting. We want to make sure that we not only… So what we capture today in an orchestration run is everything that happened in this run, right? How much time it take for one person to go into that step, complete that step et cetera. So we have that information in the format of a log, we log all these operations, but there is no way to do reporting on top of that. There is no way to create graphs that say, “Hey, I want to analyze for this specific step, how much time it takes over hundred thousands of iteration.” That’s not exposed today. So that’s what we’ll be building in the next six months, that will be available by the end of this year. The ability to create Salesforce reports on Orchestrator objects. And that will include work items, runs, step and stages.

Gillian Bruce: Oh, I love that. I mean, that’s totally related to what we just said. This is a bullet point to put on your performance review, like look at how much time this is being saved. You now have a report you can run to show how useful your orchestration is and how many people are actually adopting it and using it within the organization. I think that’s awesome.

Antoine Cabot: Yeah. So I have one thing to mention here is that, if you haven’t done… So please start measuring, please start measuring how much time it takes for a process to go from the beginning to the end. Because usually when we want to prove the ROI, we need to know what happened before automating it. So if you really want to see a difference, start measuring now, build the orchestration and then run the orchestration and see the difference.

Gillian Bruce: Oh yes. I love that. I mean, you got to be able to tell the difference, right? Come on.

Antoine Cabot: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: I love it. That’s great. So Antoine, any other fun little pointers or recommendations that you have for admins who are like “Okay, this orchestration thing sounds like it’s for me.” Clearly, we’re going to put some resources in terms of where you can go to learn more on Trailhead. What else do you have in terms of maybe strategically thinking about what would be a first step that someone would take to start building an orchestration?

Antoine Cabot: Yeah. Maybe let me give you my one more thing for today. Slack, Slack is usually fun. You probably all know that Slack is now a part of Salesforce. So we’re thinking a lot on how we can actually leverage Slack with Orchestrator. And something that we are building that will be huge, is the ability to do work directly in Slack using a screen flow that will be kind of started from Orchestrator. So think about an interactive step that you create in your orchestration, it means that you will have some kind of human interaction. This person will have to go through a Salesforce record and complete a few screens in Salesforce. Now imagine that you don’t even need that person to go to Salesforce. This person would just be notified on Slack, they will see, hey, please complete that work that is assigned to you now.

You click on that button and then everything happen in Slack. You see the screen flow render directly in Slack, natively in Slack, you complete the work and done. You have never been on the Salesforce Instant. You are maybe not even a Salesforce user at the end, you are just Slack user or Slack is the place you go, where you work every day, that’s where you complete the work. That’s where this association of Slack plus Orchestrator is huge. And that’s coming up at the end of this year.

Gillian Bruce: Oh, I love that. That is so smooth because like you said, there may be a lot of users who never really need to be in Salesforce. They’re just doing their work in Slack, so let’s bring it there. I mean, that is that’s slick. I like that, that’s going to be amazing.

Antoine Cabot: And for Salesforce Admin who might be like, “oh, I don’t want to support Slack, I don’t want to create specific flow for Slack.” You don’t have to. We will actually make the easy lifting of converting your screen flows in the Slack format, which is called Block Kit. So you just build your screen flow in Salesforce and we do everything for you to render it in Slack and make sure that your user has the best possible experience, desktop and mobile on Slack.

Gillian Bruce: That’s cool. That’s really great. Again, save an admin’s work. That’s even better than admins saving end users work. That’s great.

Antoine Cabot: Yeah. I mean, we want to keep them focused on what adds value, right? So there is no need to rebuild all your screen flows for Slack. We really want to save time on that.

Gillian Bruce: That’s fantastic. So any kind of parting words of wisdom in terms of how to admin strategically think about where to start with Orchestrator?

Antoine Cabot: Yeah. Great question. Think about one of the most painful process you are facing in your organization. Usually it’s a process that involves multiple individuals. You have to constantly ask them to complete the step that they have to do. That’s usually a good start when you start building an orchestration, think about a very painful process that you are experiencing pretty much every day or two days. If you are from IT for example, like in a provisioning scenario where you have to provision laptops for example, is a great example. It has multiple people involved and that’s very, very easy to build in Orchestrator. So start simple, start with something that is really painful and you will see the value very, very quickly.

Gillian Bruce: I love that. Well Antoine, thank you for all the amazing work that you and your team do to make-

Antoine Cabot: Thank you.

Gillian Bruce: … admins look like rock stars because this is literally one of those tools that truly make admins awesome, and really makes a huge difference in the efficiency of the organization. So keep on doing the good work. Thank you.

Antoine Cabot: Thank you. We will.

Gillian Bruce: Huge thanks to Antoine for taking the time out of his day to talk to me about all things, Orchestrator and multi-user workflows. Wow. I just got to tell you for Admins, this is a game changer, because think of all the individual flows that you can now tie together in one seamless orchestration. Think about the external and internal use cases you can combine into one big process. I mean, the example of that solar company and how they connected an external survey using Experience Cloud all within one big orchestration. I mean, that is really, really powerful. And talk about the time you can save your organization, the money, the resources and demonstrate your value as an awesome Admin. So definitely admins check out Orchestrator. If you’re coming to TrailblazerDX, I hope you are able to join Antoine’s session. I’ll put a link to the session in the show notes, and you’re not going to want to miss it. It’s all about multiuser workflows. And if you’re not able to join us at TrailblazerDX, don’t worry. There’s tons of great content on Orchestrator out there for you to get skilled up and ready to really make a big impact in your organization with this powerful, powerful tool. Now, if you want to learn more things about anything we talked about in this podcast or other podcasts, or otherwise you just want to skill up on being an awesome admin head on over to admin.salesforce.com, where you’ll find amazing resources, blogs, videos, more podcasts, anything you need to help you be an awesome admin. You can find out at admin.salesforce.com. You can also stay up to date with us on the social medias by following @SalesforceAdmns no I on Twitter. And you can follow my guest today Antoine, @antoinecabot on Twitter, as well as myself, @gilliankbruce. My co-host, Mike Gerholdt, is @MikeGerholdt. And with that everyone, I am looking forward to seeing you at TrailblazerDX and I’ll catch you next time in the cloud.

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